Volume one of the collected short novels of Mrs. Aubin
Mrs. Penelope Aubin, born in London around 1679, is something of a woman of mystery and in that lays much of her allure as a person and as an author. Certainly, Penelope Aubin was an author of note at a time when female authors were uncommon and in her day her work was regarded as highly as that of Haywood and Daniel Defoe, though of course her fame has not endured so well as that of the latter. Mrs. Aubin was well known for the writing of decidedly ‘racy’ fiction—in effect ‘bodice-rippers’ at a time when there were actually bodices to rip! In any event her seven short novels which are enacted on a global stage are full of adventure, lust, seduction, duelling, violence, young love—and sometimes all of these elements in the same tale. Aubin wrote prodigiously and was a poet as well as a translator of French prose . The complete collection of Mrs. Aubin’s classic novels of 17th century life and love have been gathered together in this special Leonaur two volume set for modern readers to own and enjoy.
In volume one readers will find The Life of Madam de Beaumontt, The Strange Adventures of the Count de Vinevil and His Family, The Life and Amorous Adventures of Lucinda and The Noble Slaves; or, The Lives and Adventures of Two Lords and Two Ladies.
Originally presented in the style of the day, these texts have been carefully revised by Leonaur's editors to remove archaic ligatured characters, thereby making them more accessible to contemporary readers. Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
Notwithstanding this, I was obliged to suffer the disagreeable visits of Roderick, who was very rich, and about forty years of age; and though he was accounted to have wit, his conversation gave me no satisfaction, and I thought nothing could be well said, that came not from my beloved Charles, I endeavoured by my actions, to shew him that my heart was already engaged, that he was labouring in vain, for what it was impossible for him to obtain: but notwithstanding all my fair dealing, he was indefatigable in the pursuit, and I found myself obliged to receive him. My parents were so blinded with his riches, that their doors were always open to him, shewing their designed son-in-law the greatest respect and civility imaginable.<br>
This was often the melancholy subject of our midnight meetings, and Charles was grown almost inconsolable, left in obedience to my relations I should be obliged to consent to marry Roderick: indeed there was some occasion, for not long after this, my mother proposed it to me with severe injunctions of obedience to her commands. I knew not what excuses to make to disentangle me from this proposition, his riches far surpassed what he could expect with me, and his years were not so advanced as to countenance my refusal. My being already contracted to Charles was unknown to them, and I thought it not proper to discover it: my only remedy therefore, was to desire my mother to consider the tenderness of my years, and to bid her not to speak to me of this subject till I had passed a year or two more, which would make me better acquainted with the world, and know how to behave myself in such a solemn state; and that time being expired, if she continued in the same mind, and it was her desire, I should be ready with all obedience to submit to what she should please to command.<br>
She told me it was so much to the advantage of our family, that a delay was dangerous, and that it was the greatest folly not to give an immediate consent. I had no argument of any consequence to oppose her prudent resolutions: being therefore almost in despair, I fell upon my knees, and besought her with tears in my eyes, that she would grant me but eight days to give my resolution, which, with much importunity she consented to. This I thought would afford me an opportunity of consulting my dear Charles about this important affair: I longed for the evening, he came as usual to see me, when I acquainted him with the dismal news, and, that I had but eight days allowed me to frame my resolution of marrying Roderick.<br>
This threw him into the utmost despair; he was so astonished, that for a quarter of an hour he was not able to utter one single syllable, till at length breaking forth in the greatest lamentations, and deepest complaints, ‘So then, my dear Lucinda,’ says he, ‘after all the vows and solemn protestations you have made me, never to have so much as a kind thought for any other, you are going to dispose of what of right belongs only to me, in favour of a parent’s choice; What will be the return, think you, of such inconstancy and broken faith? The very apprehension of it almost deprives me of life, and I had rather die ten thousand deaths, than see the only happiness I wish for or desire, in the arms and possession of any other person. How can I endure such tormenting News? But I vow’—and thus he was going on, when I interrupted him by saying:
‘How is it possible, my dearest life, that you are capable of thinking me guilty of so much perjury? My conduct towards you ought to have inspired you with kinder thoughts; I deserve not this injurious treatment. Had it been my intentions to enter into any other engagement, I should scarcely have made you a confident of it; No, no temptation can ever make me leave you, and the reason I communicated this to you, was that we might consult together to avoid this disagreeable design.’<br>
He recovered his temper at this discourse; he fell on his knees before me, imprinted a thousand warm kisses on my hands, and returned me with great joy a thousand thanks for the welcome assurances I had given him. The only means that we could think of to remedy this accident, was, that I should fly away with him. We were some time consulting the securest way to effect it, and at last we agreed, that he should expect me in a barge provided for that purpose, at the first stairs below the bridge; where I was to come at the time appointed; and which was to carry us to some other place where we were to remain in secrecy, until the intercession of some of our relations had prevailed with my father and mother to forgive me this fault, and to be perfectly reconciled to us.<br>
My servant maid, who was to accompany me in my flight, was present at this resolution, and afterwards occasioned all the misfortunes that befell me. Roderick in the meantime saw me frequently, and I treated him with more complaisance than usual, that my relations might believe I had no other design but to comply with their desires. The wished for time of my deliverance was approaching, and Charles, who passed not a night without the sight of me, animated me afresh to put in execution our projected design; so that the evening following I took what things were most convenient, as money and jewels of great value, in my own custody; and delivering lace, linen, and the richest clothes in a bundle as much as my maid could conveniently carry, when it was almost dark, we went according to appointment towards the water-stairs, where I perceived a barge, which I imagined was that which my dear Charles had provided for me; and as I was going to ask one of the watermen for the person who had hired the boat, I found myself seized by two men, who by force, notwithstanding the resistance and the exclamations I made for assistance, forced me into the boat, which immediately put out, and rowed away with the utmost haste.<br>
You may guess at the affliction I was in, to find myself in the power of two persons unknown to me, and what to do or how to help myself I knew not. I often called for my servant, but no one answered me; this threw me into such fears and apprehensions, that I could not forbear bursting out into a flood of tears.<br>
When I was in the middle of this lamentation, taking my wet handkerchief from my eyes, I perceived two men near me who were striking fire, and lighted a candle; by the glimpse of it I cast my eyes about the barge on every side, and I could discern no more persons on board than the rowers, the two men that lighted the candle, and the mailer or steersman in the stern. They were all masked, and therefore not to be known by me: I nevertheless took the courage to ask them, What was the reason of this usage, and where was my servant? He that was next me, answered, that what they had done was by the order of their master, and that the passion he had for me obliged him to this treatment, that he would soon be with them to pay me all the civility imaginable; but as for the chamber-maid they knew not what was become of her, having received no orders concerning the taking her aboard.<br>
But what was my insupportable grief, to find myself thus exposed in the hands of persons unknown to me, what would be my fate, or what they intended to do with me, I knew not. I blamed the unfortunate resolution I had taken to leave my parents who were so indulgent to me, I cried out upon the infidelity of mankind; since either by the treachery of one who had gained my heart, and by whose intercession I had undertaken this fatal design, or at least by whose carelessness I was exposed to these dismal circumstances, I was thus brought into inevitable ruin. But alas! ’twas all to little purpose, I had so troubled them with my questions and lamentations, that I could obtain no more answers, telling me they had orders to hold no further discourse with me.